Date: May 4, 1995 4:23 PM
Author: Ihor Charischak
Subject: Re: Fractals and other esoteric topics

Skip Fennell wrote:
>Thanks for making me think differently about this issue. (teaching fractals at
>the 6th grade level)

You're retraction of your suggestion about not teaching Fractals at the 6th
grade level made me smile. It's seems that no matter what suggestion you
make there will always be someone who gets mileage from not following your
advice. Last week I suggested to a group that I work with that the Geometry
Inventor (by sunburst) be used at the middle school level, while the
Geometers Sketchpad be saved for the high school. It seemed to me
(knaively) like a logical curriculum decision, but, boy, you should have
heard the sketchpad lovers in the group complain. So that made me wonder if
there was any curriculum decision that everyone could agree on - like no
calculus in kindergarten. Certainly, you and I would agree, right? But I
wouldn't be surprised if there's somebody out there who would come up with
legimate argument to support it. Which reminds me of my favorite. No one in
their right mind would suggest teaching kids how to use a slide rule,
right? Wrong. One of my favorite activities was (thanks to Harold Jacobs,
Mathematics - A Human Endeavor, W. Freeman & Co.) to have my 10th grade
algebra students make one! I used it as an introduction to logarithms. It
gave them a real insight into how logarithms can be used to construct a
physical calculating device.